Hello Everybody!

The moon has risen again. I suspect it will surprise me every month down here. It rises near full, and is up for about two weeks, then sets. The last two weeks of April it got quite dark--the moon was down, and all the remaining twilight was gone. I couldn't really see the snow I was walking on outside, so I've been learning to walk completely blind. I fall down a lot, but everyone does and the snow is fairly forigiving. I'm not above crawling, either, when I'm near an edge or somewhere else I could hurt myself!

All my experiments are up and running, and for the most part are behaving themselves. Its a lot more to keep track of. Every day I go up to my lab and turn everything off, and start the data transfers of the previous day's data. I put on all my ECW and climb up on the roof with a little headlamp. Each instrument looks up into the sky through some kind of plexiglass dome, and I check each of these for blowing snow accumulation or frost. Then I turn my headlamp off and lay on my back and look at the sky. In my daily logs for the experiments I note things like cloud cover, percentage of stars visible, whether I can see the Milky Way (and how!) and the Magellanic Clouds, whether or not there is blowing snow or ice. All these things help them understand their data better. I see it as a great excuse to do a little stargazing! They're paying me to look up at this amazing sky every day!

This weekend was again the first one of the month, so everyone gets Saturday off as well as Sunday. There was a barbeque for Cinco de Mayo on Saturday in the new garage, and Sunday Meg and I made calzones to order for the whole station. It was a lot of work but we had a good time and they turned out great.

Its dipped down to the mid 90s a few times, but we haven't seen -100F yet. We are all marvelling lately at how perfectly normal it seems to us to wander around in these temps. They really don't seem that cold to me! There are a lot of little oddities here that we've gotten accustomed to. Meg and I spilled some water in the back kitchen making calzones, and when we went back in there 10 minutes later there was a sheet of ice on the floor. I wiped out trying to mop it up (i thought a hot mop might melt it), and wound up scraping it off. Nearly every building has some amount of ice on the floor in the corners--I wouldn't ever think of going around barefoot inside or outside!

Its hard to believe I've been here over half of the 13 months. We don't have much outside entertainment but life moves by as quickly as anywhere. I imagine some of the longest months remain, deep into winter when it seems like the sun will never re-appear. My birthday is one day after the predicted sunrise. I think there will be quite a party for that! My friends and I have been in awe the last two days that we can see the ground we are walking on, or the building we are walking towards with the moon up. I can't imagine what sunlight will look like after 6 months!

I've heard there are problems reaching my website, so I'm moving it over to a new location. I'll let you all know when that's done!


copyright 2001 Andrea Grant

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